More than half of those Australians connected to the internet are using Facebook to engage with brands, which is over 10% more than consumers in America, according to a new report by marketing group ExactTarget investigating local media consumption.
The survey found that not only are Australian shoppers ‘liking’ brands on Facebook for very different reasons than their international counterparts, but that they’re also more likely to check email first thing in the morning and follow brands they like on Twitter.
The results directly inform how businesses should go about their email marketing and social media practices, ExactTarget vice president of marketing research and education Jeff Rohrs says.
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“There definitely is a willingness to ‘like’ brands and connect with them online. But where it gets interesting is exactly why they’re doing it,” he told SmartCompany this morning.
“What you see in Australia is that users are unintentionally conditioned to ‘like’ a brand and then expect some sort of discount or return for that action. It’s quid pro quo.”
The study, which surveyed 1,400 Australians, found that overall, local users are far more engaged on Facebook, email and Twitter than any other survey area, including the United States and Britain.
The study found Australian consumers are more likely to ‘like’ a brand if they’re getting something in return, whereas in the United States, users are more likely to ‘like’ a company just to show their support.
This fundamentally changes the way businesses go about Facebook marketing – especially if they claim the total number of ‘fans’ they have is a representation of their company’s popularity.
“The ‘like’ is an interesting expression, because it means very different things to different people depending on the context in which it’s used,” Rohrs says.
“A brand can’t always assume that because a consumer ‘likes’ something they do, that they want to hear from them on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s a momentary thing.”
The study found that 69% of Facebook users login at least once per day. But Rohrs says many businesses don’t even understand the best time of day to start engaging with users, and forget most users can’t access Facebook at work.
“Only 14% of Australians older than 18 were able to access Facebook at work. The majority are either accessing on mobile devices during downtime, or primarily during the evening.
“Marketing has become 24/7. If you’re trying to leverage Facebook and only using it during business hours, you’re missing time that people are most likely to engage with you.”
The survey dipped into other marketing methods as well, finding that 96% of Australians subscribe to at least one email marketing program, and that 53% of consumers subscribe to email programs and have made a purchase after receiving a message.
Rohrs says it’s the exclusive nature of email lists that people are after – businesses should avoid lumping everyone into the same category.
“The words that came up most often for email was exclusivity and relevance. People want to get promotions through email, but they don’t want to be lumped in with everybody.
“If I give you my email address, you have something of value. So they want to get something personalised and customised.”
This follows efforts within the group buying industry to start personalisation and loyalty programs, following a year or so in which users would be part of bulk email lists. The attempt is an effort to drum up more excitement and loyalty if customers are more engaged on a personal level.
But the timing issue comes into play once again, after the survey found 71% of consumers are likely to check email first thing in the morning, compared to just 58% in the United States.
Finally, the survey also reinforced the importance of Australian brands to maintain a presence on Twitter. While only 6% of online consumers interact with brands, 50% of followers always read posts from their favourite companies.
“Twitter followers are all about getting the news first, more than anybody else. They want fast access,” says Rohrs.